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Lunchbreak: Vikings Among ESPN's 'Most Interesting Teams' of 2022 Offseason

It's been a whirlwind six weeks for the Vikings.

The beginning of that span was marked by Minnesota finishing off a disappointing 2021 season and moving on from longtime figures at general manager and head coach.

Now? The Vikings have new leadership in place, as General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O'Connell have ignited energy and passion both inside and outside the walls of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

O'Connell impressed Thursday in his introductory press conference, much as Adofo-Mensah did three weeks earlier.

But now the real work begins, with the NFL's usual and major offseason events — the Scouting Combine, free agency and the NFL Draft — on the horizon.

And the Vikings, according to ESPN's Seth Walder, are the league’s most interesting team to follow.

He wrote:

The new regime has to make a crucial decision on Kirk Cousins that is going to set the track for the franchise for years to come. Do they move on from Cousins, hoping to grab value for him in the trade market, and start over at quarterback? Or recommit to him, extend his contract to lower his immediate cap hit and hope to win in the short term? It's a tricky spot with huge consequences.

Walder was part of a 12-person panel at ESPN that looked at three major topics heading into 2022, with the league's most interesting team being one of them.

While Minnesota received one vote from Walder, four votes went to Green Bay, a team that also might have to figure out its long-term quarterback solution.

Denver received three votes, while Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Pittsburgh were also mentioned.

The group's full discussion on the 2022 season, which includes picks for Super Bowl LVII and for MVP, can be found here.

CBS Sports offers quick free agency primer for Vikings

As mentioned above, the annual free agency period is on the way.

That frenzy officially kicks off at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 16, which is also the start of the New League Year. It's worth noting that the league's "negotiation period," in which teams can negotiate with free agents, begins at 11 a.m. (CT) on March 14. It's often referred to as "legal tampering."

What will free agency bring for the Vikings?

Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports recently offered a quick primer on all 32 teams, focusing on positions of need for each.

Kerr wrote that guard, edge rusher and cornerback could be the top priority for Minnesota.

Cornerback may be the biggest priority in Minnesota, but the Vikings will have to get creative in improving that position. They need to improve the interior of the offensive line in order to protect Kirk Cousins and give him more time to make plays downfield with his pass catchers. The pass rushing situation may have to be addressed in the draft.

Kerr also listed Minnesota's potential free agents, and also looked at the Vikings current cap space situation.

While the Vikings are over the 2022 salary cap of $208.8 million at the moment, they can get under it by either restructuring deals or releasing players to free up money.